In this sermon we are going to look at the origin of tithing in the bible.
And since the origin of tithes in the bible, as we are going to see; involved Abraham and Melchizedek, we will therefore look at who was Abraham as well as who was Melchizedek.
And before we end this article, we are going to see why Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.
And without much ado, let’s get down to this sermon, so we could learn about the origin of tithing in the bible.
Bible verse about the origin of tithing.
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.Genesis 14:17-20.
The origin of tithing in the bible.
It all began when four kings: Amraphel of Babylon, Arioch of Ellassar, Chedorlaomer of Elam and Tidal of Goiim; went to war against other five kings: Bera of Sodom, Birsha of Gomorrah, Shinab of Admah, Shemember of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (or Zoar).
The war went against the latter five kings, and as the king’s of Sodom and and Gomorrah tried to flee the battle field, they fell into the pits.
And the other three kings escaped to the mountains.
The four kings however took everything in Sodom and Gomorrah, including their kings and Lot, Abraham’s nephew who was living in Sodom.
But a man escaped and went to relate all that happened to Abraham, most especially the fact that his nephew, Lot had been captured.
Abraham immediatwly called all his fighting men in his camp, 318 in all; and pursued the four kings all the way to Dan.
There he divided his men into groups, attacked the king’s by night and defeated them. In the process he safely rescued his nephew, Lot and all his possessions.
Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and priest of the most high God must have heard of Abraham’s victory; and so he went out to meet him.
When Melchizedek met Abraham, he gave him bread and wine and blessed him.
And after Melchizedek blessed Abraham, he gave him a tenth of all he recovered.
It is this tenth that we refer to as ‘tithes’ today.
Who was Abraham?
According to Joshua 24:2-3, Abraham came from an idolatrous home.
It clearly states that his father was Terah, who lived on the other side of River Euphrates and worshipped other gods.
And in verses 3 of the above scripture, God said that He took Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan, and gave him descendant’s.
God’s call to Abraham is recorded in Genesis chapter 12.
And in that bible portion, the Lord said to Abraham, “leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s home, and go to a land that am going to show you. I will give you many descendants, and they will become a great nation, will bless you and make your name famous, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, But I will bless those who curse you. And through you I will bless all the nations.”
When Abraham said this, he did not hesitate to obey the Lord’s call.
So at the age of seventy-five years old, he took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot and all the wealth and slaves he had and started out from Haran.
The country he headed for was Canaan, and when he arrived there, he travelled through the land until he came to the sacred tree of Moreh, the holy place of Shechem.
It was here that God confirmed Canaan as the land he is going to give to Abraham and his descendants.
The descendants of Abraham.
The descendants of Abraham begins with the birth of Isaac as recorded in Genesis chapter 21.
And in Genesis 24:5 we see how Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.
Isaac begot Esau and Jacob and in Genesis 32:28, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel; who is the ancestor of the Israelites who’s history is the backbone of the bible.
Therefore, Abraham is the grandfather of Jacob who is the ancestors of the Israelites.
Who was Melchizedek?
In Genesis 14:18, the bible introduces Melchizedek as a king of Salem and priest of the most high God.
However, the bible says there is no record of Melchizedek’s father or mother or any of his ancestors; no record of his birth or of his death.
Why did Abraham pay tithes to Melchizedek?
As we saw earlier in this sermon, Abraham’s victory in the war against the four kings must have been the reason Melchizedek came out to offer him bread and wine and afterwards blessed him.
And immediately after receiving the gifts and blessings, Abraham payed his tithes (which is also known as the tenth) to him.
With this knowledge, we can gain the understanding that tithes is a repayment for a favour or blessings receieved from a priest (or any man of God).
And as we all know, the priest acts as a mediator between God and human beings.
And as we can see in Numbers 18:21-24, God gave the tithes to the Levites as a payment for their service in taking care of the tent of the Lord’s presence.
Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’ ”
From the above bible passage, we can see that the purpose of tithes was for the upkeep of the Levites whose duty was to serve God in the temple.
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